PV market: Slight optimism for 2017 – installations in Europe dropped

1/2/17, 2:08 PM -

With 1.56 GW installations in Q3 2016 the European solar market slowed down according to Solar Power Europe. For 2017 there is slight optimism though. IHS forecasts new installations of 79 GW this year, a market growth of three percent.

Sligth optimism for the PV market in Europe in 2017.

Solar Power Europe's third quarter 2016 PV market update shows 1.56 GW of newly installed capacity in Europe in the months from June to September. That is about 10 percent less new solar power installed than the 1.73 GW in the same quarter 2015. In the first 9 months of the year, 5.3 GW of photovoltaic systems were installed in Europe, a decline of 18 percent over the 6.5 GW in the same period the year before.

Demand drop in UK – unpredictable Turkey 

The main reason for the European market's decline is the strong demand drop in the UK after slashing feed-in tariffs for smaller installations, and ending its support program for large-scale solar power plants end of the first quarter 2016. While the UK installed 4.1 GW in 2015, the first nine months of 2016 only saw additions to the grid of around 1.5 GW, with the major part installed in Q1. In a few European markets demand for solar power has improved, but future developments for one of the strongest growth markets, Turkey, is very difficult to predict, due to its political situation and strong protectionist measures.

7.1 GW new installations in 2016 in Europe

If the fourth quarter of 2016 develops similar to the previous year, total solar demand in Europe would be around 7.1 GW, which would mean 17 percent less than the 8.6 GW of new solar power additions than in 2015. Solar Power Europe had forecasted a 7.3 GW market for its medium scenario in its 5-year Global Market Outlook 2016-2020.

Too little efforts to profit from cheap solar

Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at Solar Power Europe, says, "In light of the Paris COP21 agreement it is concerning that the European solar market growth is slowing down, especially now that solar has become the lowest-cost power source in many European regions today." Adding, "While Europe has recently done little to profit from cheap solar energy, the US market celebrates its best solar quarter ever, installing 4.1 GW in Q 3 alone, and anticipating a 14.1 GW size for the full year, up 88 percent from 2015. China might even install around 30 GW of new solar power capacity in 2016, which would be more than what Europe installed in the last three years put together."

Keep priority dispatch for renewables

James Watson, CEO of Solar Power Europe, says, "It is of utmost importance for the European solar sector that the legislative proposals supporting active power consumers and self-consumption in the European Commission's 'Clean Energy For All Europeans' package are maintained. We need improvements on several other topics: First, the proposed 27 percent renewables target is too low. Solar Power Europe calls for a 35 percent target, which would better suit the ambitions of COP21. Second, we need to keep priority dispatch and access for renewables in a generation scheme still dominated by inflexible power sources. Finally, the proposed approach to capacity mechanisms needs to be improved if we are to eliminate power generation overcapacities in Europe."  

Market growth of 79 GW in 2017 globally

IHS Market forecasts a three percent global PV market growth for this year, with an installed new capacity of 79 GW. The largest markets will be China and the US, followed by India first time ranking number three and Japan. “The Indian solar market is rapidly maturing and it is benefitting from low system costs globally”, senior analyst Josefin Berg says.India is currently the world’s fourth largest market with a projected annual demand of 5.8GW. Japan is currently in third with 8.7 GW of newly installed capacity. 10 GW of new installations are projected for India in 2017.

With expected 77 GW new installations in 2016 the global PV market grew by 34 percent compared to 2015 according to IHS Markit. (HCN)

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